When I signed my first really big writing client at the end of last year, they didn’t even ask to see my portfolio. In fact, a lot of my writing clients never ask.
Instead, they tell me—almost unanimously—that they checked out my website, my blog, and my Instagram account. They all say in their own way that they felt so seen and understood through what I wrote.
That was all the proof they needed.
When this first started happening, I thought I had just gotten lucky. While I never say yes to work that I can’t commit to executing, I don’t make a habit of updating my online portfolio.
Now, however, this pattern is so common that if I get on a call with someone, nine times out of ten, they’re going to become my next client.
Which has me wondering what kind of proof really matters to people.
Or, more specifically, what kind of proof matters to the people I want to serve.
As a writer, I’ve learned that my clients are checking for consistency across my online platforms, a deep understanding of their pain points, and a human way of engaging with them.
As a coach, I am still learning what my clients—other writers—are checking for.
Other than the quality of the writing that I do, here are some other points of proof that I think are of value:
I have a budget and relationship to money that allows me to charge what I’m worth, pay down my debt consistently, and only work for others as much as I need to so I can spend the rest of my time working on personal projects.
Being able to carve out consistent creative time means that I’m able to work on my first book while still making money and living the rest of my life. (I’m sure having a published book will serve as some other kind of proof.)
I am able to skillfully process my emotions so that I no longer sabotage moments of inspiration with food/self-harm and rarely experience writer’s block or a lack of knowing what to write about next.
Having all this stability in my life means that I make decisions that are in the service of my long-term practice of being a writer. Gone is the anxiety that this is the year it all falls apart or that someone calls my bluff.
Being able to get out of my own way has allowed me to build and nurture relationships with other creatives in a way that allows me to feel more connected and supported as I do the work I feel called to do.
The only proof that’s more valuable than this are the stories of other people I’ve coached to get out of their own way and do their best work.
So, what kind of proof matters to you?